Politics - News Analysis

Daily Beast Points to the Specific Reason History will Judge Barr as the Country’s Worst A.G.

The Daily Beast’s New Normal is an almost “must hear” podcast for anyone interested in politics. Of course, there is only so much time in any day. In the most recent episode, they explained how it was that Donald Trump managed to find an Attorney General exponentially worse than Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions was a racist sycophant who immediately instituted racist policies, and yet he was enough of a traditionalist to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation in what was an obvious situation.

Barr came in with an even greater conflict. Barr is the one who wrote the memo that called the Mueller probe illegal and threatening to our “democracy.” He already had an opinion, a negative one, about the investigation’s place during Trump’s term. Barr did not recuse himself, even after opining on the investigation months beforehand in a “hire me” brief. But Barr said all the right things during his confirmation hearings. He has a brilliant legal mind. He was confirmed and Trump had his Roy Cohn.

Barr’s most egregious act as attorney general? The one that history will remember with contempt?:

Barr saved Trump from Robert Mueller’s report, which would have ended Trump’s presidency under any other attorney general. Bill Barr – had he simply followed regular DOJ rules regarding the Mueller report – would have had to report to Congress that the level of criminality was so egregious that the DOJ had to hand it over.

The Mueller report didn’t so much “clear” Donald Trump from the Russian allegations as end the investigation in an exasperated “We don’t have the evidence,” and the report stated specifically that Mueller couldn’t get the evidence because no one would tell him the truth. Everyone close to Trump lied to the point they had to be charged with making false statements. Additionally, Trump himself could have been charged with at least ten counts of obstruction of justice.

When the United States government investigates a president for possible conflicts with the country’s primary adversary, the one with nukes pointed at us, and the people around Trump lie to the point that they’re charged with false statements and obstruction of justice, and then the president obstructs justice in the investigation, over and over, the Department of Justice has reached the point when any real attorney general strongly reconsiders and reverses the DOJ rule about charging presidents while they are in office. The evidence was there. Let Trump defend it. At the very least, he carries the report to Congress.

Instead, Barr declared Trump cleared, and then sat on the memo for almost a month, letting the air out of findings. By essentially wiping the report and hiding it from the public under the rubric that it “cleared” Trump, Barr kept the door open for what eventually became Ukraine, the Big Lie, January 6th, and ongoing contempt for the vote. Barr teamed with Trump to ruin this country’s foundations.

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Yes, Barr saved Democracy (temporarily) by refusing to assert election fraud where there wasn’t any. But that decision must be considered less saving about saving democracy and more about saving his own skin. Trump had already lost and was getting increasingly desperate. Barr had to have heard rumors about what might happen on January 6th. He resigned less to save the country than to save himself, quite typical.

History will regard Bill Barr as the worst attorney general in history for one reason alone. He could’ve prevented everything that happened after the Mueller report, Impeachment I and II, the Big Lie, the 80% of Republicans that have no faith in elections right now, normalizing pardoning of friends, normalizing withdrawing guilty pleas, normalizing refusing to investigate obvious criminal behavior around the White House, on and on, to the point that one shouldn’t talk about Trump as the dangerous man without including Bill Barr right alongside. One couldn’t have existed without the other.

As a footnote, Merrick Garland is doing next to nothing about cleaning up Barr’s corrupted DOJ, a situation almost as maddening as…

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[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiciak

meet the author

Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.

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